If life is ultimately meaningless (i.e., nihilism), then it is ridiculous to take yourself too seriously. The best way to approach life is through a comic rather than a tragic mode.
You shouldn’t aspire to change the world. You should, instead, take things easy—take yourself easy. Aspire for mild not wild success, prioritize process over product (i.e., live in the present moment), live day by day with humor, and recognize that meaningful living is possible despite meaninglessness.
People who feel like they need to change the world—to bend it to their own liking—could not live with the idea that their life is ultimately pointless. They believe that they exist for a reason, and they will do whatever it takes to fulfill that reason. They approach life in tragic mode where they are always struggling for something, fighting someone. This often results to catastrophe.
But we could survive life better if we change ourselves rather than our environment. If we approach life with humor, we give everyone a chance to see another day. We lessen animosity. We don’t have to turn people into enemies. We don’t have to change them to fit our ideals.
Here is how to approach life with humor.
Kleon, A. (n.d.). The comedy of survival. Austin Kleon. Retrieved March 8, 2022, from https://austinkleon.com/2020/11/19/the-comedy-of-survival/
Meeker, J. W. (1997). The Comedy of Survival: Literary Ecology and a Play Ethic (3rd edition). University of Arizona Press.
Comedy is not a philosophy of despair or pessimism, but one which permits people to respond with health and clear vision despite the miseries the world has to offer. Its mode is immediacy of attention, adaptation to rapidly changing circumstances, joy in small things, the avoidance of pain wherever possible, the love of life and kinship with all its parts, the sharpening of intelligence, complexity of thought and action, and strategic responsiveness to novel situations. It permits people to accept themselves and the world as they are, and it helps us make the best of the messes around us and within us.
Nagel, T. (1987). What Does It All Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy (1st ed.). Oxford University Press.
The reason why some people cannot accept that life is meaningless is that they have an incurable tendency to matter. People with great ambitions, other than simply survival, need a sense of importance, which relies on the idea that life has a meaning. If you remove life’s meaning, then their ambition seems meaningless.